Sunday, December 27, 2009

Team USA Beats Switzerland; Jack Campbell and Cam Fowler Look Like 1st-Rounders

The Americans were back at it today in the WJC with an afternoon game against Switzerland after beating the Slovaks last night.

Goalie Jack Campbell looked like the first-round pick he is likely to be in the 2010 NHL Draft, shutting out the Swiss with 20+ saves in a 3-0 win to put USA at 2-0 in the round robin.

Campbell's got a big frame, extremely quick (especially in his down-up movements), has quick pads and glove, and seems to have the kind of mental toughness/competitive drive you want to see in a goalie. The Port Huron, Michigan native was originally committed to the University of Michigan, but changed gears and will now go to the OHL and the powerhouse Windsor Spitfires next season. I like Campbell a lot. He backstopped Team USA to gold at last spring's World Under-18 Championship, and he reminds me a bit of Ryan Miller with his size and playing style. The broadcasters today said that Campbell admires Miller and has followed him since his days at Michigan State.

Anyway- if the Bruins still have their first-round selection and are picking late-teens/early-20's, and Campbell is on the board, he would not be a bad option for them. He would provide a potential elite-level netminding prospect for their organization that doesn't have a lot of skill at the position after Tuukka Rask's graduation to the NHL this season.

As for Cam Fowler, he was the best defenseman on the ice for Team USA in my opinion, and has done nothing to create any doubts about him as a potential top-three pick in the 2010 NHL Draft in June. He was skating well and jumping up into the play throughout the game. It was his big point blast on the powerplay that Chris Kreider deflected home for the first and clinching score, and he's a guy who is going to get better as the tournament goes on.

As for the Swiss, their goalie, Benjamin Conz, played very well and was under siege as USA outshot his team by a 2-to-1 ratio. Conz did his level best, keeping it a 1-0 game until later in the third period when the Americans scored twice.

Swiss winger Nino Niederreiter was OK- I didn't see him do much in the open ice, but he was active along the boards, digging for pucks, and he did try and get to the net. It's just- the Americans played good defense and didn't allow for much sustained pressure at any time.

Team USA is off tomorrow and takes on Latvia on Tuesday, with the Swiss getting a chance to take on the Canada juggernaut. Conz had better be on his game like he was today or it will be a long day for Team Switzerland.

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